Court orders noisy Rundu church to contain members

RUNDU � The Ecumenical Church in Rundu's Queens Park location has been ordered by the court not to have overflows of members outside the church building as this necessitated the use of speakers that nearby residents say are noisy.

Queens Park residents lodged a case of breach of peace against the church, which operates in the residential area.

The church uses speakers in order for its members who cannot sit inside the church building to follow proceedings from oustide.

The [church] is ordered to apply for the broadcasting authorisation with immediate effect in terms of Regulation 3, which stipulates the procedure to follow when applying for the authorisation to broadcast, said the principal magistrate at Rundu district court Helen Olaiya last week.

Olaiya also ordered the Rundu Town Council to grant the broadcasting authorisation to the church with appropriate and practical conditions in terms of Regulation 4(1) (c) which it currently does not possess.

The council is ordered to pay any cost which may rise because of any development caused by this dispute. The [residents] are ordered to stop harassing the [church] and the church members and patrons by making an environmental conducive to walk in and out of the place of worship; to avoid blocking the area with stones or sands and any other hindrances and to ensure that dogs are restrained during church services, she said.

For a while now, the residents who are the complainants in the matter, have been seeking assistance in order to address the issue which causes anger among nearby dwellers.

Apart from Sunday service, the church sometimes congregates during weekdays.

Residents could not get any help after numeriusly stating that the church was noisy and thus decided to approach the district court over the matter.

To remedy the situation, the court felt that the church can be given a broadcasting authorisation with appropriate conditions.

The church can take steps to abate the noise by placing sound proofs in the premises, the court advised. The church is expected to take reasonable steps to attenuate the noise nuisance by splitting the services on each Sunday that is to have two services in order to avoid an overflow which necessitated the use of speakers outside, Magistrate Olaiya said.

According to the court, the Rundu Town Council contributed to the issue when it failed to take precautions in allocating the plots and their purposes to the church .

The court also discovered that some of the houses were built after the church and that the building plan was approved by the town council and the council also supervised the project and that the houses were built on plots which were surveyed by the same council.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia